Society for New Music

Innova 719


CD 1

Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, b. 1964              

. . . [and of course Henry the Horse] dances the  . . . , 2007

1. Genghis  1:04

2. Mandala Tequilandala  6:02

3. Machine with Artichoke Petals?  2:04

4. Things Keep Going  3:31

Ann McIntyre & Stephanie Koppeis, vl, Amy Diefes, vla, Wesley Baldwin, cello, Adrienne Kim & Kirk Severtson, piano, Rob Bridge & Jennifer Vacanti, percussion, James Tapia, conductor


5. Edward Ruchalski, b. 1965 

Winter Light, 2008  20:27

       I. (elsewhere)           

       II. (by snowlight)                  

       III. (song for beth)              

John Friedrichs, cl, Ann McIntyre, vl, Adrienne Kim, piano, Jennifer Vacanti, perc; Ed Ruchalski, spike chimes.


Marc Mellits, b. 1966                       

Platter of Discontent, 2004

6.  I: The Seduction of Brie  1:58

7.  II: Roasting Petunia  2:27

8.  III: Standing at the Gates of Orange Wheat  3:40

9.  IV: Paranoid Cheese  5:30

10.   V: Jello Infusion  1:30

11.   VI: Freedom of the Eggs  7:06

Linda Greene, fl, John Friedrichs, cl/bass, Cristina Buciu, vl, David LeDoux, cello, Steven Heyman, piano, Jennifer Vacanti, perc, Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor


CD 2

1. Nicolas Scherzinger, b. 1968

Fractured Mirrors, 2005  9:35

Linda Greene, fl/picc, John Friedrichs, cl/bass, Cristina Buciu, vl, George Macero, cello, Steven Heyman, piano, Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor          

2. Sally Lamb, b. 1966                     

Subito, 2005 for piano trio  13:38                 Cristina Buciu, vl, George Macero, cello, Steven Heyman, piano              


3. Robert Morris, b. 1943                              

Society Sound, 2006  8:53                  

Kelly Covert, fl/picc, David Abrams, cl, Patricia Sharpe, oboe, Cristina Buciu, vl, David LeDoux, cello, Sar Shalom Strong, piano, Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor


Dan Trueman, b. 1968                                    

Triptick, 2006 for piano trio

“verbing weirds language” Calvin - these 3 pieces can be performed in any order,     combination, or individually (though performing all 3 will naturally triptick the best)

4. Left (Foil/Clock)  7:47

5. Center (Stretch/Steel)  8:57

6. Right (Keen/Hide)  7:38

Cristina Buciu, vl, David LeDoux, cello, Steven

Heyman, piano


    CARLOS SANCHEZ-GUTIERREZ was born in Mexico City in 1964 and now lives in the New York Tundra, where he teaches composition at Eastman. He studied with Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, Steven Mackey and Henri Dutilleux at Yale, Princeton and Tanglewood, respectively. He likes machines with hiccups and spiders with missing legs, looks at Paul Klee’s Notebooks everyday, hasn’t grown much since he reached adulthood at age 14, and tries to use the same set of ears to listen to Bach, Radiohead, Ligeti or Deep Purple. The music of Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez has been described by the press as ‘vigorously organized and highly visceral...neither eclectic nor post-modern nor owing allegiance to any

passing fashion.’

     Among his many awards are a First Prize at the 2004 Malaysian Philharmonic Competition, as well as the 2003 Lee Ettelson Award. He has also been honored with awards from the Koussevitzky, Guggenheim, Fromm, Rockefeller and Camargo Foundations; was the 2000-01 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Fellow; and has received 2 BMI awards, the Mozart Medal from the governments of Mexico and Austria, and a Fulbright. Sanchez-Gutierrez is a member of Mexico’s prestigious Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte and was named Person of the Year 2000 by the Mexican daily Público. His work is performed and recorded frequently in the U.S, Latin America, Europe and Asia. He is currently working on commissions from NYSCA, the Howard Hanson Fund and Mexico’s National Fund for the Arts.


     ...[and of course Henry the Horse] Dances the... was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress for the Society for New Music, and dedicated to Neva Pilgrim. The source for the title of this collection of short pieces should be obvious to any Beatles fan. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite—a hallucinatory electronic march with colorful characters and an aura of decadence, nostalgia and futurism—intrigued and amazed me long before I could understand what the lyrics said. I’d like to think of the 4 little pieces that so far form this collection of music for piano duo, percussion and string quartet as proponents of some of the same qualities I like about Mr. Kite. My pieces, like most circus acts, employ a menagerie of ‘technological’ devices (in the case of my music, these are rhythmic and structurally ‘imperfect’ mechanisms) that are precisely engineered, yet precariously realized. The pieces are simple and complex at the same time, as well as a bit funny and very dangerous. Each piece pays homage to, and is a commentary on, a work of contemporary art.

     Genghis is a wobbly, six-legged robot built in 1989 by Rodney Brooks (Director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab), which, upon being switched on, doesn’t vacuum one’s floors or builds the newest Chevrolet. Instead, it simply ‘does what is in its nature.’

     Mandala Tequilandala was inspired by the installation piece ‘Mandalas para la vida moderna’ (Mandalas for Modern Life) by Mexican artist Iván Puig, where an endless mechanical mallet weaves a mantric melody when hitting a collection of tequila bottles arranged in a circle. Thanks to a small light bulb installed on the mallet, a series of cogwheel-like shadows are projected onto the walls, creating a perpetual counterpoint of light, sound and movement.

     Machine with Artichoke Petals? takes its title from one of the awesome machines built by the American artist Arthur Ganson, a self-described cross between a mechanical engineer and a choreographer. Ganson’s machines are simple and profound, quiet and eloquent, high-tech and low-tech, finite and eternal.

     Things Keep Going... dreams about the world of Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, specifically their masterful film The Way Things Go: a sort of perpetual cycle where fire, air, gravity and corrosive liquids make it possible for mops, buckets, wood planks and old bottles to stage a carefully choreographed dance that is part chain-reaction, part circus-act Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”                 –(C. Sanchez-Gutierrez)


    EDWARD RUCHALSKI has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Helen Boatwright, and the Society for New Music; and has had performances by the Buffalo Guitar Quartet, Robert Black and Ralph D’Mello. His compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center, Mass MOCA, Miller Theatre, the Everson Museum and at the Festival of Miami. Ruchalski has also been the recipient of two Artist Grants from Syracuse’s Cultural Resources Council for his compositions using motorized string and percussion instruments of his own design. To date, he has 8 studio recordings available on Pseudoarcana, Afe, Humbug, Taalem & Foxy Digitalis. He received his B.F.A. in Composition at SUNY Fredonia and his M.M. at the University of Miami. He lives in Syracuse, NY, where he teaches guitar privately and at Le Moyne College.

Winter Light, commissioned by SNM with funds from NYSCA and the NYS Music Fund, is a composition in three continuous movements: 1) Elsewhere, 2) By Snowlight, and 3) Song for Beth. The three movements were composed simultaneously. The first movement functions as a prelude. The second movement functions as the main body of the composition—this main movement merges into the final movement, a simple song. Most of the material came to me during various winter walks. It is music that feels natural to me and music that I like to sing. It is important to me to compose music that is direct and song-like; and I hope this piece is joyous.”

                                              –(E. Ruchalski)

    MARC MELLITS was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1966, and is one of the leading American composers of his generation, enjoying many performances throughout the world. His unique musical style is an eclectic combination of driving rhythms, soaring lyricism, and colorful orchestrations that all combine to communicate directly with the listener. Mellits’ music is often described as being visceral, making a deep connection with the audience. ‘This was music as sensual as it was intelligent; I saw audience members swaying, nodding, making little motions with their hands’ (New York Press). He started composing very early, and was writing piano music long before he started formal piano lessons at age 6. He went on to study at the Eastman School of Music, Yale School of Music, Cornell University, and Tanglewood. Mellits often is a miniaturist, composing works that are comprised of short, contrasting movements or sections. His music is eclectic, all-encompassing, colorful, and always has a sense of forward motion. Mellits’ music has been played by major ensembles across the globe and he has been commissioned by groups such as the Kronos Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Sergio and Odair Assad, Bang On A Can All-Stars, Eliot Fisk, Andrew Russo, Canadian Brass, Nexus Percussion, Real Quiet, New Music Detroit, Musique En Roue Libre (France), Fiarď Ensemble (Italy), the Society for New Music, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, and the Albany Symphony’s Dogs Of Desire. Marc remains active within the acclaimed Common Sense Composer’s Collective, a group he helped found, which seeks new and alternative ways of collaborating with performance ensembles. Mellits also directs and plays keyboards in his own unique ensemble, the Mellits Consort. He was awarded the prestigious 2004 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award. On CD, Mellits’ music can be found on Black Box, Endeavour Classics, Cantaloupe, CRI/Emergency Music, Santa Fe New Music, Innova, & Dacia Music. Marc Mellits lives in upstate New York with his wife and two daughters, and spends significant time in Romania.


     Platter of Discontent was written in Syracuse, NY and Bucharest, Romania and was commissioned by the Society for New Music and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Like most of my works, I have tried to communicate directly with the listener through the musicians on stage.  Each instrument fundamentally relies on one another and together they form a larger musical sound, much like pieces in a puzzle form a larger picture.  For me, inspiration can come from almost anywhere, but often comes from people and their stories.  Platter of Discontent is no different in this respect.  It is music inspired (and titled) by the bold yet funky Kristi McKay, a woman exemplifying courage.  Where others might have fallen, Kristi fought back and formed an amazing and inspirational picture from broken pieces of her own puzzle.  Each movement of Platter reflects in some way on a different element of her incredible story.  Yet, since this music was written specifically for the Society for New Music, I knew who the players were going to be and I could take advantage of that fact to help realize this goal.  Hence the final movement ‘Freedom of the Eggs’ piano virtuosity was written specifically for the monumental playing of Steve Heyman, Cristina Buciu’s dark and sensuously beautiful playing specifically motivated the violin solo in ‘Paranoid Cheese.’  These elements combine in a way that I hope pay tribute to both the wonderful and virtuosic Society for New Music on the surface of the music as well as the inspirational person underneath the music.”                                   –(M. Mellits)


     Composer NICOLAS SCHERZINGER (b. 1968) has received awards and commissions from ASCAP, SOCAN, the Barlow Endowment, the Jerome Foundation, the Canada Council, and the Eastman School of Music, and his music has been performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Russia, as well as in Taiwan and China. Recently, his works have been premiered or performed at such venues as the International Viola Conference, the World Saxophone Congress, the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, the International Double Reed Conference,  the Aspen Music Festival, the International Gaudeamus New Music Festival, the Seal Bay Festival, the Kinhaven Music School, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Many distinguished artists have performed his works, including John Graham, Bradley Lubman, David Gilbert, Sydney Hodkinson, Christopher Marks, Joseph Lulloff, Julia Nolan, Randall Hall, Sequitur, the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the USC Thornton Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Society for New Music, the Cassatt String Quartet, the Ethos Percussion Group, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Meridian Phase II. His works have been broadcast on WCNY, WBFO and CBC RadioTwo, and recorded on Raven Compact Disks and Innova Recordings. Since 2006, Scherzinger has been composer-in-residence at the Kinhaven Music School in Vermont. He is a member of ASCAP, the American Music Center, and the Society of Composers Inc. and his works are published by ScherziMusic Press.   Scherzinger is associate professor of Composition at the Setnor School of Music at Syracuse University where he teaches composition, theory, improvisation, and digital music. In addition to his work as a professional composer and educator, he is active as a performer of improvisatory works for saxophone and interactive computer. Scherzinger received a MM and DMA in Composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York (1995-2000), and a Bachelor of Music in saxophone performance from Western Washington University (1986-1991). He has studied composition with Roger Briggs, David Liptak, Augusta Read Thomas, Christopher Rouse, Allan Schindler, and Joseph Schwantner. He currently lives in Syracuse, New York with his wife, pianist Adrienne Kim, and their son, Noah.


     Fractured Mirrors, for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano, was composed in the winter of 2004-2005.  My initial goal was to compose an energetic and rhythmic piece that would be fun to play and that would feature the piano, but as I continued to work on the piece, the piano and other instruments became much more integrated.  Thus, this piece is very much an ensemble piece, and each instrument is as important as the other.  As is the case in most of my works, timbre and color play an important role in the development of the musical materials throughout the piece.  The five instruments continually pass motives around in a kaleidoscopic manner. As the title suggests, another important element in the piece is the idea of a broken or fractured mirror.  As I worked on the musical material, I imagined what it would be like to write some music and then reflect a page of that music onto a broken mirror.  Music that had initially appeared continuous would now rematerialize in splintered fragments.  Fractured Mirrors was commissioned and premiered by the Society for New Music in 2005.  The piece is dedicated to Steve Heyman, piano, and the Society for New Music with much admiration and gratitude.”                      –(N. Scherzinger)


     Born in Detroit in 1966, SALLY LAMB was educated at the University of Toronto, California Institute of the Arts, and earned her DMA at Cornell University (1998).  Her principal teachers have included Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra and Mel Powell.  Awards and fellowships include a 2007 New York State Fund Creation Grant, the 2003 Whitaker New Music Reading Sessions Award from the American Composers Orchestra, the 2001 Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and awards from ASCAP, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the Society for New Music, the Women’s Philharmonic and the International Alliance for Women in Music.  Lamb has received numerous commissions, including those from the Kitchen Theatre Company (Ithaca, NY), New York State Music Teacher’s Association, the Society for New Music, Ensemble X, Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, Ariadne String Quartet and Cornell University Wind Ensemble.  She has taught at Cornell, Syracuse University and is currently on the faculty of Ithaca College.  She has served as Guest Composer at various institutions including Eastman, University of South Carolina, Pepperdine University and the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford and as Composer-In-Residence in elementary schools in Syracuse and Ithaca. 

     SUBITO (It.: ‘suddenly’), commissioned by SNM with funds provided by the NEA & NYSCA “I wanted to create a spontaneous, immediate feel to the music on multiple levels.  At times, one might hear three different musics played simultaneously or different versions of the same music at once.  On a deeper level, a dramatic shift in mood and tempo separates each of the four sections, with the most dramatic occurring between Sections III and IV. Thematically, original material is woven with remnants of hymn, American-popular, and even a Beethoven children’s piece to create an often complex musical collage.  Formally, Section I (fast) begins with disparate materials that converge towards the end of the section.

     In Section II (moderately slow), two of three instruments play different versions of the same music. Section III (fast) returns to material of Section I but with a momentum towards greater reduction and synchronization between the three parts. Section IV (slow) contains some entirely new material, providing a new, congenial context for an old tune.”

                                                      –(S. Lamb)


     ROBERT MORRIS, born in Cheltenham, England in 1943, received his musical education at Eastman (B.M. in composition with distinction) and the Univ. of  Michigan (MM and DMA in composition and ethnomusicology).  Morris has taught composition, electronic music, and music theory at the Univ. of Hawaii, the University of Pittsburgh and Yale, where he was Chair of Composition & Dir. of the Yale Electronic Music Studio. In 1980 Morris joined the faculty of Eastman where he presently is Professor of Composition and chairs the Composition Department.

     Morris is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, A. Whitney Griswald Foundation, American Music Center, Hanson Institute of American Music, and the American Council of Learned Societies. In 1975 he was a MacDowell Colony fellow. He has been guest composer at many festivals and series of new music including: the ISCM Festival of Contemporary Music (Paris, 1975; Boston, 1991); the  International Conferences of Computer Music (Rochester, 1984; Urbana, 1987); ‘Composer to Composer’ (Telluride, 1990); Composer’s Symposium (Albuquerque, 1991, 2009); Contemporary Music Festival (Santa Barbara, 1992);  The 1993 Kobe International Modern Music Festival in Japan; The Heidelberg Contemporary Festival (Heidelberg College, 2005); The New Music Festival at Western Illinois University, 2009. He has received numerous awards and commissions including those from the Pittsburgh Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, Yale, Speculum Musicae, Alienor Harpsichord Society, Hartt College Festival, and National Flute Assoc. His many compositions have been performed in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Morris’s music is recorded on CRI, New World, Music Gallery Editions, Neuma, Music & Arts, Fanfare, Centaur, Open Space, Albany, and Attacca.

     Morris has written music for a wide diversity of musical forms and media. He has composed over 160 works including computer and improvisational music texts.  Among his present compositional projects is a series of the works to be played outdoors in a natural setting: Playing Outside (2000); Coming Down to Earth (2002); Sound/Path/Field (2006); and Arboretum (2008).

     In addition to his music, Morris has written three books and over 50 articles and reviews which have appeared in the Journal of Music Theory, In Theory Only, Music Theory Spectrum, Journal of the American Musicology Society, and Perspectives of New Music contributing to theories of musical analysis and aesthetics, compositional design, and electronic and computer music.

     Society Sound was written in March 2006 on commission from the Society for New Music to celebrate its thirty-fifth anniversary. It was originally premiered as part of a larger composition, Sound/Path/Field, performed on the quadrangle of Syracuse University on Sept. 24, 2006. Nevertheless, it can stand alone as a concert piece of chamber music. Like its progenitor, Society Sound is based on a cycle of 90 notes that overlaps all 29 of the tetrachordal harmonies available in the 12-note, equal-tempered system, each harmony occurring exactly 3 times in the cycle. In this way and many others, it can be heard as a musical map of the larger work.”

           The 90-minute Sound/Path/Field was commissioned by the Society for New Music with funding provided by the NEA, Hanson Institute for American Music, and Gladys Krieble Delmas Fund. The relationship between music and nature has long been a concern of Morris, stemming from his time spent hiking and his interests in non-western religion, philosophy and aesthetics.  His experiences echo those of other composers throughout Western music history, e.g.  Beethoven, Bartok, Ives, Messiaen, Cage, the British impressionists, Stockhausen, R. Murray Schafer and others, who have forged deep connections between music and nature.                                       


     DAN TRUEMAN is a composer and performer, primarily with the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle and the laptop, sometimes together, sometimes not. His ensembles include QQQ, the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk, which he co-founded and directs), Trollstilt, post-Post, and interface. He has performed his music with numerous other ensembles, including So Percussion, the Brentano and Daedalus string quartets, and the American Composers Orchestra. As a fiddler, he has performed at folk festivals across the US and in Norway, and he teaches traditional Norwegian fiddle music. Dan has received grants from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations, among others, and he teaches composition at Princeton University.          

“In my very first composition class when I was 21 (I got a late start), one of my peers argued passionately that a good piece will have all its materials in the opening moments and that its trajectory will be predetermined from this moment on. Beginner that I was, I was impressed if not convinced, and today I find it hilarious. The three ‘variations on a piece’ that make up Triptick all begin identically and then diverge, introducing new material as needed. Another motivation for this design are words that have multiple seemingly unrelated meaning: Foil, Clock, Stretch, Keen, Hide, etc.... (try thinking of these when falling asleep). Is it possible for music to function analogously? In each of these pieces, I had a pair of such words in mind and allowed their meanings to inspire my compositional process, sometimes directly, as with ‘stretch,’ which directly motivated both the warped meters and stretched chord progressions (where a stack of minor-9ths is gradually stretched to a stack of major-9ths, for instance). A third inspiration for composing a ‘variation in pieces’ is the work of many painters (my mother included) who will paint a series based on a single subject; why choose one? Finally, I have an abstract feeling that somehow this piece is indebted to Schubert’s Piano Sonata in Bb (especially the 1st and 2nd movements); not sure why.”       

                                              –(D. Trueman)



The Society for New Music’s Mission Statement: founded in 1971, the Society’s purpose is to act as a catalyst for the continued growth of the CNY musical community by:

1.         commissioning & recording new works by regional composers

2.         advocacy, e.g. Society News & Fresh Ink

3.         featuring guest composer/performers alongside regional composers

4.         providing regional musicians an opportunity to perform the music of their peers in order to gain new skills and techniques

5.         encouraging young composers via the Israel Prize, Rising Stars and workshops

6.         bringing new music to as broad an audience as possible, through performances, broadcasts and on the web.


Producer: Neva Pilgrim

James Abbott, engineer

Recorded between Sept. 2008 - June, 2009, Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College, Syracuse University

Photographs: Elisabeth Groat

Funded in part by a grant from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording Program.


Philip Blackburn: director, design

Chris Campbell, operations manager

innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.